Michael Blackwell has passed away

Mike Blackwell with his wife Sarah McCallum at the the 150th anniversary of Blackwell's Department Store.
Mike Blackwell with his wife Sarah McCallum at the the 150th anniversary of Blackwell’s Department Store.

It is with much sorrow that we report Michael Blackwell passed away on the evening of Wednesday 17th May.

Michael joined the firm in 1988 after completing a BA degree at the University of Canterbury. Over the next 34 years, Michael helped to modernise the store with extensive refurbishment of the exterior and interior, introducing new office systems and new merchandise.

After his father David Blackwell retired in 1993, Michael in conjunction with his brother Andrew jointly ran the store as fifth generation directors of the family business.

Even the troubled times of the Global Financial Crisis and recovering from the trauma of the 2010 earthquakes couldn’t dampen Michael’s spirits. His cheerful banter and camaraderie will be missed by staff and customers alike.

A memorial service to celebrate Michael’s life will be held at a future date.

Read more about Michael’s involvement…

A fresh start for Kaiapoi

It’s exciting times for Kaiapoi with the stunning new Library opening their doors, new housing developments appearing before our eyes and lots of new faces on the streets and in the shops. There is a buzz in the air which is refreshing and invigorating for a community which has been through so much.

Blackwell’s is excited and proud to be part of this change and progression. It has been wonderful to welcome our neighbours, Coffee Culture, and to see the town coming alive again. As such, for the first time in 143 years we are opening our doors seven days a week for your shopping convenience.

WE ARE NOW OPEN SUNDAY’s from 11am to 3pm.

So make a day of it and join us on a Sunday when you can shop at your leisure and enjoy a coffee or lunch at Coffee Culture.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

> From the team at Blackwell’s

Winter windows

The new store has much better window display spaces, so we can feature the variety of items we have in stock for you. blackwells-window-displays-5 blackwells-window-displays-13

Winter update – keeping things warm

Like many in Kaiapoi, the last six months have kept us very busy, so it’s about time we posted an update here.

Our Winter stock is keeping many locals warm on the outside while the new Coffee Culture cafe is now open and warming everybody from the inside.

Keeping warm

knitwear-display woollens-display

Come in a check out our range of winter woollens and quality knitwear.

boot-display Jeans

Our Flashpoint boots are the perfect footwear for wet days, and of the wind is blowing through that hole in your jeans, come and see us for a great new pair.

There’s always more stuff to carry around in Winter so maybe a new bag would be just the thing. We have a great range of designs, colours and sizes. Add a new scarf and you’re set for the season.

Bags and scarves


Knitting yarns and wool

Knitting yarns are getting hard to find but not at Blackwells! We have a fantastic range of colours and yarn weight, so if you feel like a bit DIY knitting, we are the place to come to.

Knitting wools

Blackwell’s by night

The early sunsets were a great chance recently to get some shots of the new store at night, while the lights were still on.

The new front entrance of Blackwell's at night

Blackwell’s Sultana Cake

Blackwell’s Sultana Cake used to be made at the Blackwell’s bakery in the 1930s, and sold from the Kaiapoi store and from Blackwell’s retail and bakery shop opposite Ballantynes in Cashel Street, Christchurch. Their sultana cake holds special memories for many people in the district.

While we were looking through the records to build this website we found the original recipe. Here it is and we hope it’s as successful for you as it was for Blackwell’s over eighty years ago.

10 oz sugar
10 oz butter
1 lb plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 lb sultanas
2 pieces of chopped lemon peel
6 eggs

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and remaining ingredients. Bake in moderately slow oven (160°C) for approx 1.5 to 2 hours until a skewer comes out clean.